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Chapter 01

Chapter 01


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Chapter 1


| 1

Every science has a unique vocabulary associated with

it, and thermodynamics is no exception. Precise defini-
tion of basic concepts forms a sound foundation for
the development of a science and prevents possible misun-
derstandings. We start this chapter with an overview of ther-
modynamics and the unit systems, and continue with a
discussion of some basic concepts such as system, state,
state postulate, equilibrium, and process
. We also discuss
temperatureand temperature scaleswith particular emphasis
on the International Temperature Scale of 1990. We then pre-
sent pressure,which is the normal force exerted by a fluid
per unit area and discuss absoluteand gagepressures, the
variation of pressure with depth, and pressure measurement
devices, such as manometers and barometers. Careful study
of these concepts is essential for a good understanding of the
topics in the following chapters. Finally, we present an intu-
itive systematic problem-solving techniquethat can be used
as a model in solving engineering problems.


The objectives of Chapter 1 are to:

•Identify the unique vocabulary associated with
thermodynamics through the precise definition of basic
concepts to form a sound foundation for the development
of the principles of thermodynamics.

•Review the metric SI and the English unit systems that will
be used throughout the text.

•Explain the basic concepts of thermodynamics such
as system, state, state postulate, equilibrium, process,
and cycle.

•Review concepts of temperature, temperature scales,
pressure, and absolute and gage pressure.

•Introduce an intuitive systematic problem-solving

cen84959_ch01.qxd 3/31/05 3:38 PM Page 1



Thermodynamics can be defined as the science of energy.Although every-
body has a feeling of what energy is,it is difficult to give a precise defini-
tion for it. Energy can be viewed as the ability to cause changes.
The name thermodynamicsstems from the Greek words therme(heat) and
dynamis(power),which is most descriptive of the early efforts to convert
heat into power. Today the same name is broadly interpreted to include all
aspects of energy and energy transformations,including power generation,
refrigeration,and relationships among the properties of matter.
One of the most fundamental laws of nature is the conservation of energy
It simply states that during an interaction,energy can change from
one form to another but the total amount of energy remains constant. That is,
energy cannot be created or destroyed. A rock falling off a cliff,for example,
picks up speed as a result of its potential energy being converted to kinetic
energy (Fig. 1–1). The conservation of energy principle also forms the back-
bone of the diet industry:A person who has a greater energy input (food)
than energy output (exercise) will gain weight (store energy in the form of
fat),and a person who has a smaller energy input than output will lose
weight (Fig. 1–2). The change in the energy content of a body or any other
system is equal to the difference between the energy input and the energy
output,and the energy balance is expressed as E

in E

out E.
The first law of thermodynamicsis simply an expression of the conser-
vation of energy principle,and it asserts that energyis a thermodynamic
property. The second law of thermodynamicsasserts that energy has qual-
ityas well as quantity,and actual processes occur in the direction of
decreasing quality of energy. For example,a cup of hot coffee left on a table
eventually cools,but a cup of cool coffee in the same room never gets hot
by itself (Fig. 1–3). The high-temperature energy of the coffee is degraded
(transformed into a less useful form at a lower temperature) once it is trans-
ferred to the surrounding air.
Although the principles of thermodynamics have been in existence since
the creation of the universe,thermodynamics did not emerge as a science
until the construction of the first successful atmospheric steam engines in
England by Thomas Savery in 1697 and Thomas Newcomen in 1712. These
engines were very slow and inefficient,but they opened the way for the
development of a new science.
The first and second laws of thermodynamics emerged simultaneously in
the 1850s,primarily out of the works of William Rankine,Rudolph Clau-
sius,and Lord Kelvin (formerly William Thomson). The term thermody-
namicswas first used in a publication by Lord Kelvin in 1849. The first
thermodynamic textbook was written in 1859 by William Rankine,a profes-
sor at the University of Glasgow.
It is well-known that a substance consists of a large number of particles
called molecules.The properties of the substance naturally depend on the
behavior of these particles. For example,the pressure of a gas in a container
is the result of momentum transfer between the molecules and the walls of
the container. However,one does not need to know the behavior of the gas

2 | Thermodynamics



PE = 10 units
KE = 0

PE = 7 units
KE = 3 units

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